Media Hits & Misses

Assange’s Indictment Is Trump’s Next Step In His War On Our Free Press

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (4/13/19) The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is so disliked in journalism and political circles that many reporters and liberal politicians were publicly cheering on Thursday when the Trump administration released an indictment of Assange, which was related to his interactions with the whistleblower Chelsea Manning in the months leading up to the publication of Pentagon and state department cables in 2010. Please do not fall for this trap. It is exactly what the Trump administration is hoping for, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) moves forward with its next dangerous step in its war on journalism…

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A ‘Mole Among Trolls’ Went Undercover At A Russian Online Troll Factory & Found Hundreds Of Russians Working As Paid Trolls In Rotating Shifts

  “Each worker has a quota to fill every day and every night. Because the factory works around the clock. It never stops. Not for a second.” Charles Maynes PRI’s The World (3/18/19) Slaying online trolls can be a lonely business. Just ask Russia’s Lyudmila Savchuk, who first exposed the story of Russia’s disinformation campaign back in 2014. The journalist and 33-year-old mother of two, Savchuk started noticing websites and social media accounts attacking local opposition activists in her hometown of Saint Petersburg with a frequency she hadn’t seen before. The posts were all too similar. The verbal assaults too…


On The 16th Anniversary Of Disastrous Iraq War, Matt Taibbi Asks ‘Where Were The Reporters?

In this March 23rd episode of The Zero Hour Richard ‘RJ’ Eskow and Rolling Stone journalist and book author Matt Tiabbi mark the 16th anniversary of the disastrous Cheney/Bush Iraq by reviewing the many mistakes, errors and missed opportunities and close cooperation of most of the American media in leading the nation to war and the Middle East to multiple senseless tragedies. Link to 34-Minute Video ****** 16 Years Later, How The Press That Sold The Iraq War Got Away With It How the media built new lies to cover their early ones. By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (3/22/19) Sixteen…


Demolishing Erik Prince: One TV Interview Shows Just How To Deal With Trump’s Gang Of Nincompoops

Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera English took Trump pal Erik Prince apart in two minutes. American media: Watch and learn By Bob Cesca Salon (3/12/19) “He can’t keep getting away with it!” was one of the lines from “Breaking Bad” in which Aaron Paul’s award-winning acting talents were on full soul-crushing display. In the climactic scene from season five, episode 12, Paul’s Jesse Pinkman cries out in mid-nervous breakdown over the fact that Bryan Cranston’s Walter White indeed keeps getting away with one murderously bad decision after another. Somehow, Donald Trump and his crew of mostly incompetent co-conspirators seemingly keep getting away…


Leaked Documents Confirm The US Government Is Secretly Tracking Journalists & Immigration Activists

One lawyer was worried that she was being targeted by the government. She was right. By Fernanda Echavarri Mother Jones (3/7/20) One lawyer was worried that she was being targeted by the government. She was right.  When I visited Nicole Ramos, an American immigration lawyer, at the Tijuana offices of the legal aid group Al Otro Lado last week, she told me she was worried she was being targeted by the US government for special monitoring. She’s a director of the organization, which assists asylum-seekers and other migrants, and her two co-directors had already been denied entry into Mexico because of “migratory alerts” placed on…


On Russia Gate, Freedom Of Speech & The Petty Revenge Of ‘Individual 1’

Over the years she has been “viciously harassed” and targeted for her multiple prize-winning investigative stories. By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (3/7/19) Ever fittingly, the current pernicious regime marked International Women’s Day by presenting prestigious Women of Courage Awards to 10 women around the world who conspicuously did not include Jessikka Aro, a renowned Finnish investigative journalist who has long faced down death threats and smear campaigns for her work exposing the Russian propaganda machine; who was earlier notified she had won the award; but who was then, according to Foreign Policy, told oops, sorry, “regrettable error” after U.S. officials stalked her social media and discovered she finds Trump as immoral, incompetent and…


The Revolving Door Between Fox News And The White House

The New Yorker Radio Hour (3/5/19) Donald Trump has made no secret of his great admiration for Fox News—which he praises by tweet nearly constantly—and his disdain for other, “fake news” outlets that he regards as “the enemy of the people.” But the closeness of the relationship between Fox News and the White House is unprecedented in modern times, Jane Mayer tells David Remnick. In a recent article, Mayer, a staff writer since 1995, analyzes a symbiotic relationship that boosts both Trump’s poll numbers and Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line. “I was trying to figure out who sets the tune that everybody plays…


Trump Appeared To Be Losing His Mind During His Delusional CPAC Speech — Why Didn’t Media Cover It That Way?

  By Amanda Marcotte Salon (3/4/19) On Saturday [3/2], Donald Trump was scheduled to give a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). What the audience got, however, can hardly be described as a speech. Instead, Trump unleashed a two-hour-plus rant that sounded at times, more like the delusional ramblings of someone hopped up on drugs or suffering a mental breakdown than anything resembling a normal political speech. If that sounds like an exaggeration informed by partisan bias — seriously, it’s not. Trump kicked the thing off by hugging the American flag, and that might have been the least…


The Big Obstacle For Bernie Isn’t DNC “Rigging” – It’s Media Trashing

  [Editor’s Note: Norman Soloman may be a tad optimistic about the dem party and Bernie, but he is spot on regarding the media. A CNN panel this past weekend was blatantly biased against Sanders. –Mark L.Taylor] By Norman Solomon Reader Supported News (3/4/19) Some people are attached to the idea that the Democratic National Committee will “rig” the presidential nomination against Bernie Sanders. The meme encourages the belief that the Bernie 2020 campaign is futile because of powerful corporate Democrats. But such fatalism should be discarded. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and…


Three Revelations From The New Yorker’s Explosive Article On The Fox News/Trump Connection

By Tessa Stuart Rolling Stone (3/4/19) Fox News and the Trump White House: a seamlessly integrated human centipede. Want proof? Look no further than the fact that Bill Shine, current White House communications director and the former president of Fox News, collects checks from both shops. (Shine, who resigned from Fox after the network was rocked by a series of sexual misconduct scandals, is still being paid out the remainder of a $7 million bonus.) Hope Hicks, who preceded Shine in his government gig, now works at his old network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. In her latest piece for “It’s…


Mainstream Media Silent As Trump Deports Groups Of Southeast Asian Refugees

Thousands of Southeast Asian refugees, are in a state of devastating limbo.  [Editor’s Note: Given the sizable Hmong population in La Crosse and the Twin Cities, this is an issue to pay attention to. — Mark L. Taylor] By Huiying B Chan Daily Kos (1/24/19) The National Week of Action to End Southeast Asian Deportations began on Saturday, Jan. 19. Thirteen organizations across the country are uniting in 15 cities to uplift Southeast Asian-American communities as they continue to be terrorized by mass deportations and incarceration. These grassroots groups are calling on local leaders and Congress to champion policies to protect immigrants and refugees and end…


The View From ‘The Storm Lake Times’ — Resilience, Hope & A Feisty Pulitzer Winning Small Town Newspaper In Rural America

Westminster Town Hall Forum / MPR (2/26/19) Art Cullen is editor and co-owner of The Storm Lake Times, a flourishing, family-owned, twice-weekly newspaper founded in 1990 in Northwest Iowa. In 2017, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a series of columns indicting corporate agri-business for polluting the rivers and lakes in the most-intensively farmed land in the world. His recently published book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper, chronicles his 40-year career in journalism and describes changes in politics, agriculture, climate, and immigration in his rural community. A graduate of the University of…


Facebook Shutting Down & Censoring Citizens Tracking Bad Cops

RT America (1/18/19) RT America’s Rachel Blevins reports for the News with Rick Sanchez on how Facebook and other social media platforms are purging the watchdog organizations that track police brutality and advocate for greater police accountability in the US. Link to 4-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** “Friendly Fraud” — Facebook Knowingly Duped Game-playing Kids & Their Parents Out Of Money   By Nathan Halverson Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting (1/24/19) Facebook orchestrated a multi-year effort that duped children and their parents out…


Transformation: The Making Of An Alt-Right Internet Troll

  By Jared Holt Right Wing Watch (2/23/19) Beneath every far-right internet troll is a person with a name and a life offline. Across the United States and abroad, there are otherwise normal people living out secret lives on the internet where they are engaging in a culture of harassment, hate-spreading, and radicalizing themselves with extremist ideologies. Many of the people existing in this space online do so behind pseudonymous display names and social media accounts they believe conceal their identity. But it doesn’t always work, and sometimes we get an opportunity to examine under the hood and try to understand…


Interview Tucker Carlson Doesn’t Want You To See Shows ‘How Angry Elites Get’ When Their Corruption Is Called Out

Fox’s Tucker Carlson at his measured, reasoned, eloquent best. “You’re not part of the solution, Mr. Carlson, you’re part of the problem.” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (2/20/19) Weeks after footage of him slamming the rich at the World Economic Summit at Davos became one of the most watched online videos of the past year, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman joined Tucker Carlson for a discussion on the subject, only to have the right-wing Fox News host lose his cool in epic fashion when called out for being a “millionaire who works for billionaires,” yelled obscenities at his guest, and pulled the plug…


‘Operation Divide The Left’: Analysis Shows 2020 Online Disinformation Campaign Already Well Underway

“As it relates to information warfare in the 2020 cycle, we’re not on the verge of it—we’re already in the third inning.” By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (2/20/19) As the pool of candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president continues to grow, so does a “sustained and ongoing” push to spread lies about them on social media—with one key aim being to sow division among progressive voters—according to an alarming Politico report published Wednesday. Citing analyses by and conversations with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, the outlet reported: “Researchers and others interviewed for this story say they cannot conclusively point to the actors behind…


Edward Bernays, Corporate Propaganda & Engineering Consent For Empire With Mark Crispin Miller

The most influential man of the 20th and 21st centuries… ***** [Editor’s Note: While few know his name, Edward Benays was nephew of Sigmund Freud and can arguably be tagged as the most influential person of the 2oth — and on into the 21st — century. His work on how to form, shape and direct public opinion through subtle framing of wants, desires, hates and loves created the field of corporate public relations and government propaganda. If you want to get a deep understanding of it do a YouTube search of the four-part BBC series “Century of the Self”. —…


NY Times’ Reporter Covered For Dem Architects Of A “false flag” Election Campaign In Alabama

  By Dan Cohen Grayzone Project (1/23/19) In September 2017, New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane attended an off-the-record event in Washington, DC held by American Engagement Technologies, a data firm run by Obama administration veteran Mikey Dickerson. Shane was not there simply as an observer – he was invited to speak on his supposed subject of expertise: “Soviet and Russian disinformation.” It was at that meeting where Shane learned of “Project Birmingham,” an online disinformation campaign waged against voters in the 2017 Alabama senate race between Republican Roy Moore and its eventual winner, Democrat Doug Jones. The…


“I Was Absolutely Afraid”: Indigenous Elder On “Mob Mentality” Of MAGA Hat-Wearing Students In D.C.

  Democracy Now! (1/22/19) On Friday [2/22], thousands took part in the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. The next day, video went viral of an interaction that took place soon after the march ended between an indigenous elder and a group of Catholic high school students from Kentucky who had attended a March for Life protest the same day. In the video, Omaha elder Nathan Phillips is seen peacefully playing his drum and singing while being encircled by the students—some of whom were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats. The video appears to show the students taunting and…


Investigative Reporter James Risen Describes His Long Fight To Report On Government Secrets At The New York Times

Cheney/Bush & Obama officials and New York Times editors conspired to suppress the information that was eventually released by Edward Snowden a decade later. By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (1/5/19) Investigative journalist James Risen fought hard to get classified information published at The New York Times, where editors were quite willing to cooperate with the government. In this video, Intercepted host Jeremy Scahill speaks to Risen about his yearslong battle with the Department of Justice — spanning both the Bush and the Obama administrations — as well as his struggles with his own editors at the New York Times. Link to…


Trump “Blew it Bigly” With “Wet Fart” Of An Awful ‘Offal’ Office Address

“Death twitch of The Wall cult.” “This speech wasn’t about saving his utterly fake wall. The $5.7 billion dollars he’s demanded as his vig for ending the shutdown isn’t even close to being seriously considered, and this speech was an overt admission he’s out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas. The crisis he proudly created will end without a wall, and he knows it. “This speech was supposed to be about forcing the national dialogue to stay on the border wall. No such luck. He reeked of defeat, clearly didn’t want to be there, and it showed. “Trump looked exhausted, squinty,…


Corporate Media Condemned For Handing Trump Megaphone To Spout Racist ‘Stream of Lies’ For A Capaign Event

“Trump just launched his 2020 re-election campaign with, essentially, the same speech he used at Trump Tower in 2015, when he first ranted about Mexican rapists and murderers. And the media paid for it.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (1/9/19) After President Donald Trump exploited the enormous free platform he was needlessly granted by America’s major television networks Tuesday night to deliver an immigration address replete with the same disinformation and dehumanizing rhetoriche has deployed since stepping foot on the campaign trail, critics denounced the corporate media’s continued role in amplifying Trump’s speeches despite knowing they will be full of harmful lies. “Trump…


Veteran NBC Reporter Rips Pro-War Posture Of Corporate Media In Scathing Resignation Letter

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (1/3/19) In a biting resignation letter published in full by CNN on Wednesday, longtime NBC News reporter, commentator, and military analyst William “Bill” Arkin blasted the corporate media network for embracing U.S. “national security leaders and generals” while “ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.” Reflecting on his past couple of decades working with the network—in addition to writing books and columns for major newspapers and serving as as military adviser to…


A Commoner Writes — Media In The Age Of Trump — Lampreys & Cud-Chewing

  A loved one watches MSNBC and CNN all the time. They are like a snarl of lampreys locking onto every tweet and utterance Trump pukes out and spending hours sucking it dry until the next one comes along. And they’re supposed to be the relatively good ones. It’s toxic. And it pollutes the minds of those who watch, hooking them on anticipating the next putrid morsel or endlesdly cud-chewing the last one and injecting the bile into the media discourse. Imagine if this is how people were informed about their choice of doctors or even cars. People think it’s…


Netflix Caves To Saudi Arabia & Pulls Comedy Show

  By Mattha Busby The Guardian (1/1/18) Netflix has taken down an episode of a satirical comedy show critical of Saudi Arabia in the country after officials from the kingdom complained, sparking criticism from Human Rights Watch, which said the act undermined the streaming service’s “claim to support artistic freedom”. It comes three months after the brutal killing of the Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi – which US senators have blamed on the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman – and as the war in Yemen continues to devastate the country. “Netflix’s claim to support artistic freedom means nothing if it bows…



Emergency! In Our Time Of Bullying Authoritarians It’s Time For The Press To Evolve

By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Facebook Page (12/18/18) Attacks on the free press, and constant lying by political leaders, aren’t just happening here in the United States. These tactics are also being used by authoritarian leaders in other countries who are taking power using the same tactics as Trump. These leaders understand how the press works, and they use its own tendencies against it in their efforts to erode democracy and freedom. They lie, knowing the press will repeat the lies. They create distractions because they know the press will chase the distractions. They release bad news when they think…


Setting The Record Straight: The Life And (Partial) List Of The Many Crimes Of George Herbert Walker Bush

  “You cannot make this stuff up.” Family fortune enriched by Nazi slave labor Secret slush funds Tax evasion Nixon dirty tricks operator Assassination cover-ups Mobster ties and murder cover-ups Protection of terrorists Cozy business ties with Osama bin Laden family Treason Secret deals with Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini Union busting Protecting banksters Protecting right wing dictators Financing Central American death squads Obstruction of justice Enabling Saudi 9/11 terrorists Lying U.S. into two wars Support of torture & terrorism Racism Hate mongering Murder of innocents War crimes Taking orders from Saudi Arabia Ties to Sun Yung Moon Voting corruption, disenfranchisement and…


Free & Open Press? Mmm, Not So Much In The World Of American Corporate Media

Jim Hightower in LaCrosse, Wisconsin for a 2016 campaign event. Free The Free Press From Wall Street Plunderers Texas populist Jim Hightower’s columns have been distributed by Creators Syndicate for a decade—but the agency said they had to take a pass on this one. “The big, hedge-fund owned newspaper chains that Hightower calls out in his column are big customers of theirs, and as such, they don’t want to risk offending them,” says Hightower assistant Melody Byrd (Corporate Crime Reporter, 11/29/18). “While Creators’ reluctance to anger these powerful interests is somewhat understandable, the implications are frightening. It’s one more example of this dangerous time…


Russian Trolls Prey Upon & Pry Open The Toxic Way We Do Our Politics

  By Rafael Behr The Guardian (11/13/18) To understand the current political frenzy on both sides of the Atlantic, it helps to know Tortuous Convolvulus. Unfamiliar with his work? Convolvulus was a spy, operating around 50BC, a specialist in psychological warfare. He was deployed by Julius Caesar against a stubborn Gallic rebellion, and his methods were not so different to those of Russian cyber-saboteurs against western democracies. It is worth adding that Convolvulus is a character from Asterix and the Roman Agent, a book known to most English readers in translation by Anthea Bell. The sad news of Bell’s death last month triggered many…


Meet The Russian KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News

A never ending, exhausting game of Whack-A-Mole The New York Times (11/19/18) In Episode 1 of Operation InfeKtion, we reveal how one of the biggest fake news stories ever concocted — the 1984 AIDS-is-a-biological-weapon hoax — went viral in the pre-Internet era. Meet the KGB cons who invented it, and the “truth squad” that quashed it. For a bit. Read the story here: www.nytimes.com/disinformation Link to 15-Minute Video ***** The Seven Commandments Of Russian Disinformation Fake News  The New York Times (11/20/18) Episode 2, Operation InfeKtion: The Pizzagate Playbook — same tactics, new technologies. How the seven rules of Soviet…


Dictionary.com’s Word Of The Year Is … ‘Misinformation’

Dictionary.com (11/26/18) The rampant spread of misinformation poses new challenges for navigating life in 2018. As a dictionary, we believe understanding the concept is vital to identifying misinformation in the wild, and ultimately curbing its impact. But what does misinformation mean? Dictionary.com defines it as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” The recent explosion of misinformation and the growing vocabulary we use to understand it have come up again and again in the work of our lexicographers. Over the last couple of years, Dictionary.com has been defining words and updating terms related to the evolving…


The Fate Of Julian Assange & The Free Press: No Matter What You Think Of Wikileaks, The Risk To All Journalists Is Real

“A really dangerous moment.” On Contact With Chris Hedges RT (11/26/18) Chris Hedges and Joe Lauria, journalist and editor-in-chief, Consortium News, discuss efforts to force #WikiLeaks publisher, #JulianAssange, out of the Ecuador Embassy in London and extradite him to the USA to stand trial. Link to 28-Minute Video Manafort Held Multiple Secret Talks With Assange In Ecuadorian Embassy, Sources Say — Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told. Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and…


For The Sake Of Us All: Break Up Facebook (And while we’re at it, Google, Apple and Amazon)

  By Robert Reich The Guardian (11/20/18) Last week, the New York Times revealed that Facebook executives withheld evidence of Russian activity on their platform far longer than previously disclosed. They also employed a political opposition research firm to discredit critics. There’s a larger story here. America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century began with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – but culminated in mammoth trusts owned by “robber barons” who used their wealth and power to drive out competitors and corrupt American politics. We’re now in a second Gilded Age – ushered in by semiconductors,…


The Facebook Dilemma: A Two-Part PBS ‘Frontline’ Investigation

  Frontline / PBS (10/29/18) The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world. But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful? On Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, FRONTLINE presents The Facebook Dilemma. This major, two-night event investigates a series of warnings to Facebook as the company grew from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to a global empire. With dozens of original interviews and rare footage, The Facebook Dilemma examines the powerful social media platform’s impact on…


TYT’s Cenk Uygur Destroys Mainstream Media News & The So-Called Liberal Democrats At The National Press Club

Young Turks: Cenk takes the DC dems & mainstream media on a much-needed trip to the woodshed! “This whole town is corrupt. This whole town is toxic.” [Editor’s Note: Watch how the National Press Club president just can’t take it! — Mark L. Taylor] wwwMOXNEWScom (10/26/18) Cenk Uygur, host of “The Young Turks,” joined the National Press Club for a discussion on the role of digital media in the progressive movement. He spoke about the differences between legacy media and digital media, which he said was more honest, effective and relatable due to its populist roots. Mr. Uygur talked about the…


Courageous Groups Of Fact Checkers Defending Online Truth

  The Why Factor / BBC (11/12/18) Fake News – sometimes it’s obvious to spot, other times it requires more thoughtful investigation. That’s a fact checker’s job; dedicated researchers trying to flesh out what is true and what is not in the deluge of information we see every day. In 2015 the International Fact Checking Network was established to give strength to this small but dedicated group. It now has 62 verified signatories. In this episode of the Why Factor on the BBC World Service, Sandra Kanthal speaks with fact checkers from Turkey, the Philippines and Brazil; to find out…


Two Years In, Trump Can Still Count On News Media To Mindlessly Do His Bidding

By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Facebook Page (10/28/18) Two years in, Trump and the right wing can still count on the news media to do their bidding. Constant repetition of their lies and language help spread it far and wide. They know that constant repetition of lies – even to debunk them – only makes them more sticky. Here are their tactics in use: 1. Frame first, meaning get your understanding of the situation out there. 2. Divert attention from things you don’t want people to pay attention to, for example by attacking somebody else. 3. Attack the messenger or…


Abby Martin On The Future of The ‘Empire Files’ & Growing Corporate Censorship Of Social Media

  [Editor’s Note: Be sure to catch Abby Martin’s comments toward the end of the interview on the recent wanton, despicable Israeli massacre of Palestinians. — Mark L. Taylor] acTVism Munich (10/20/18) In this exclusive interview with independent journalist, filmmaker, activist and founder of The Empire Files, Abby Martin, we talk about why her show was forced to shut down its operations and how people can assist in getting it started again. In addition we talk about U.S. interventions in Venezuela, both past and present, as well as how & why social media giants are increasingly censoring content on the…


The Washington Post Tried To Penalize Writer For Criticizing Owner Jeff Bezos. He Fought Back—And Won

  By David Dayen In These Times (9/18/18) Fredrick Kunkle was upset. A staff writer for the Washington Post’s Metro desk, he noticed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the owner of his newspaper, musing on Twitter about what to do with his money, which happens to be more than any human being has ever accumulated in modern history. Kunkle had an idea for the funds: reversing the hits Bezos had forced upon Post workers in successive contract negotiations. The co-chair of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild’s collective bargaining unit at the paper, Kunkle witnessed in 2014 Bezos’ management team freeze defined-benefit pensions for non-union employees, replacing them with a lump sum or annuity…